As I write this, I am on Day 4 of what feels like the longest week ever. This morning I went to an intense spin class, yesterday evening I went for a speedy 30 minute run, then there was yoga at lunch time, the day before that I did a circuits class and to be honest I’m not even declaring this like “LOOK HOW MUCH EXERCISE I DO”, no, actually I’m saying, everything hurts and I feel terrible! The fine art of learning to stop is the best advice you’ll hear but the only advice you see rarely practiced.
For those who jumped into January like a duracell bunny sporting brand new unworn trainers exercising muscles that have only really utilised the process of sitting on and getting up out of a sofa – jumping into a mad training regime is going to disrupt your body and potentially cause injury. Even with an injury in sight it’s tricky to stop the regime which regularly delivers a safe dosage of endorphins. Even in light of a knee injury I’ve just not done anything about it, I’m thinking I’ve been too busy (or deluded) to seek help. I don’t feel the endorphins at the minute, just the feeling of accumulative sleep deprivation weighing my eyelids down and the distinct feeling of not wanting to do anything. In the fitness world or the runaholics twittersphere, you never seem to hear about the old hashtag recovery. Sorry, #recovery. It’s actually a bit backwards in the mind of a fitness freak, it’s all about jumping on the bandwagon, and actually never falling off it like the vast majority of seasonal gym goers.
The spin teacher asked a guy in class today if his leg is better, he shook his head and said ‘I can’t hold off from doing anything, I need to be doing something’, and suddenly welcome to the weird psyche of the fitness freaks who insist no day is productive until the heart rate is elevated in the proximity of a sweat gym. I think it’s an unhealthy attitude, unless you have a competition or a race vastly approaching, recovery is actually the most opportune chance to let your mind get bored and your body to build back the energy stores you’re continuously depleting. Think of the two energy systems your body uses in exercise, aerobic and anaerobic, you need to consider both of these systems when planning out your recovery. For me, the fast run last night well and truly wiped any anaerobic stores that I had clambered back after the weight exercises in the circuits class, when it came to the spin class, my legs felt like they were on fire and I had nothing left to give. What I should have done this morning is go for another shorter and slower run to ease me out of the lactic acid frenzy or alternatively just woken up at normal’o’clock.
The look on my friend’s face who I hadn’t seen at the gym for the whole of January, as she said she’d taken some time off from the gym, she looked so normal and not sleep deprived. So here’s a bit of advice, before fully walking into the metaphorical room of ‘obsession’ whether it be for a new diet, an exercise plan or an amazing new PS3 game, be sure to leave some markers along the way. These markers might be post-it notes just reminding you of an existence outside of that obsession. A reminder that you’ve got to go wild at the weekend, a reminder that 5 days in a row of one thing is not healthy (yeah, that covers work, working isn’t healthy), a reminder that every few weeks you need a change of pace, that could be accumulating work load but in my frame of mind, I’d say it means rest and recovery.